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bradl

Stella

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bradl

Robinsend's Still Echoing RN CDX ME
4/12/2004 - 4/26/2020

Stella was one of a kind. As a singleton puppy she was overfed, overloved, and convinced she deserved every bit of it. And of course, she did.

She was a wild child, busy and bold as Cairn puppies tend to be.

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Stella could never be shown in the breed ring; among her several faults was a tragically soft coat. Besides being incorrect for the breed it was very hard to groom. That's not to say that she didn't clean up nicely though. Here she is, a tomboy in her Sunday best.  

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But her preference was to be in figurative overalls at Belden Farm.

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Stella was an interesting and accomplished earthdog. She earned her Junior, Senior, and Master titles in short order and with little drama.  She was a ferocious worker but utterly charming in the field, constantly checking back with me and even heeling along the walk with me at times. We failed the Master test a couple of times because a judge did not like her staying so close to me, expecting her to range out ahead and sweep like most terriers and dachshunds do. As someone who has worked several Cairns who I was not entirely sure I would get back after letting them off-lead on a hunt-up, I *loved* working with Stella as it was clear that she wanted to be with me and together we would find her something to bark at. Knowing I would not lose her was relaxing, and her happiness in the field was contagious.

And bark (and screech) she did. She had judges covering their ears at times as she gave the quarry at tunnel's end what-for. 

As the years went by, Stella continued to enjoy the fields immensely but I think perhaps arthritis was making navigating the tunnel less appealing, trumping her desire to harass quarry; her qualification rate began to taper off. We began to focus more on obedience work and set a goal of earning a CDX. 

The road to CDX felt like it took forever. It certainly took thousands of miles and many entries. It took easily a year to get her to take the dumbbell and I was reduced nearly to tears at times thinking it would never happen and could never happen. But an experienced judge who happened to train in our group told me that despite the resistance I was seeing that Stella would one day turn the corner and that when she did, it would be like fetching the dumbbell was her favorite thing. And lo, it came to pass. So now even when we were failing for off-lead heeling disasters, she might thrill me with a successful retrieve. This is a sight I thought I would never see, and which gave me joy every time I saw it.

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Stella was an infectiously enthusiastic worker and there was not one single time we were in the obedience ring that I did not hear laughter from outside the ring (and occasionally from the judge … sigh). Like so many terriers she had all the skills but an attitude to match, so she did what she pleased, as she pleased, when she pleased. The blur of her tail wagging charmed judge after judge (even as they flunked us) and room after room. Eventually we managed to string together three successful outings and Stella earned her Companion Dog Excellent title. I was and remain so proud of her.

After Open class came Utility class with scent articles and directed jumping and other new challenges. We continued to train for another year or so but it became obvious that with her advancing age her sight was failing and with the onset of arthritis she was beginning to find jumping work rather than joyful. So we retired from obedience class and Stella began a life of leisure and pursuit of her new hobby, conjuring Charlee Bears to appear on demand. We were happy to oblige.

Stella's decline has been long and very gradual, taking place over a period of a couple of years. As her hearing and vision declined she was no longer disturbed by noises and activities outside. She liked to rotate napping between various locations around the house and we made sure to have a comfy bed or pad (or lap) for her in every room. She perked up for breakfast and dinner and then settled back down for naps.

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While she was less and less with us each day, she did not seem in any discomfort. She still bounced for mealtimes.  Stella turned 16 two weeks ago. 

On Sunday morning she was having a much harder time than usual staying upright and was falling over frequently and walking into walls. Her posture suggested she might be in some discomfort. She showed that slightly vacant look that suggested more than blindness that she was no longer really with us. She spent a sunny day taking turns flopped on the deck and in our arms. As we held her she was soft and light and calm and perfectly relaxed. We said good-bye in our living room with the help of a house-call vet.

This morning the sight of her boots by the treat-dish nearly broke my heart. 

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Soon we will put the boots away and the ache will be replaced with bright green memories of Stella bouncing through the grass; experiencing joy, bringing joy, being joy.

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Sam I Am

Oh Brad I am so sorry. What a marvellous life Stella had. Nothing is harder then to send them on their final journey, but one given with so much love and respect. A lovely bio about an awesome Cairn called Stella. 💕Take care, big licks from Sam and Rosie and a big hug from me.

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Dianne

Brad, I am so very sorry.

She had such a joy- full life!

Thank you for sharing her with us.

💔

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sanford

Bradl, your beautiful tribute and story of Stella has left me with a lump in my throat that won't go away.

 I share your sadness and understand your grief.

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tlwtheq

Baby Girl, Baby Girl...  Heart-rending and all too familiar.  Thankfully she had you for her humans.  With loving care, the Wilks.

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pkcrossley

oh no. I've been thinking of her ever since the Zoom meeting. I'm so sorry. we have followed Stella almost all her life! we know how special she was, and how much she meant to you. she meant a great deal to us too. this hurts. so sorry, Brad. 

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Kathryn

Stella -- little star.  I realize I think of her as the grande dame of CairnTalk and, upon checking, realize I first joined in on this group in 2005, when Stella stories were already a regular feature of our conversations.  She has been here all along, encouraging us all to continue on our windmill-tilting quests to complete obedience class after class and hope for the best we could from a headstrong terrier...

The joy that can come from a cairn/their person pairing seems so evident in your relationship with Stella over the years. I am sure she became who she was in part due to your encouragement of and delight in her. I mentioned during our zoom last week how I think these dogs help form our personalities and habits, as we also try to form them. 

She is still and always will be a "star" showing us the way. Bark on and dogspeed, Stella. You were loved by so many.

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Hillscreek

You and Stella were a special pair. So sorry she has gone away but so pleased you were together all those years.

 

 

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bradl
Posted (edited)

Thank you all for the many kind comments. I loved that little dog and we went through so much together. I'm normally pretty steady about things like this but losing Stella, even seeing it coming, hit me really hard following on the heels of losing my remaining brother mid-March and a sister four days later. It's like everything bottled up came out at once. :cry: 

On 4/28/2020 at 4:51 AM, pkcrossley said:

was Stella the inspiration for CairnTalk?

If it didn't already exist, she surely would have been. CairnTalk was created in June of 2002 as a futile attempt on my part to get the national breed club to embrace some form of interactive online communication or community (a snapshot from that era).

My vision and the club's were not in alignment but they let me run the forum anyway, as a public resource. It was clear to me that it was meeting a need in the non-club space so I was grateful they did not really interfere. At that time Barley, Haggis, and Echo were my inspirations. 

When I stopped maintaining the national club site the CTCA graciously gave me permission to move the forum and privatize it. CairnTalk reestablished as an independent entity in August 2013. It has been and remains my preferred online community, thanks to the people and dogs who grace it :hug:

 

Edited by bradl
I don't know what month it is, apparently

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Pepper Bug's Mom

What a wonderful tribute to Stella and I loved the stories you told about her!!! Such a wonderful little Cairn!!!  The bouncing through the grass  reminds me so much of my Pepper!!! She will turn 9 this year and still jumps and runs like a youngster.  I truly feel your heartache after losing Stella.

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pkcrossley

Thanks for the historical footnote. Your feelings for Stella were always very clear and vivid. She had a long and grand life, which isn't much help to you now, but we are hoping that soon it will be. 

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hheldorfer

I apologize for not seeing this sooner, Brad.  You wrote a lovely tribute and it's apparent that you and Stella had a very strong bond.  What a joy it must have been for both of you, training and competing together for all those years.

Rest in peace, beautiful girl.  Your spirit still shines brightly.

 

 

 

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Tuesday
Posted (edited)

Beautiful tribute to a beautiful Stella.  I'm so very sorry for your loss.   ❤

Edited by Tuesday

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utgaard

So sorry for your losses.  You made me feel like we knew her and that means we'll be missing her, too.

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Vicky M

I just read this and my heart is broken. I have watched Stella from a puppy in so many venues, earthdog and obedience. If I recall she qualified in Masters before she was 2.  She was a sweet girl. I am sure she is missed and your loss over whelming. I hope you and Peggy find peace with all the wonderful memories of Stella.

He that is thy friend indeed. He will help in thy need; If thou sorrow, he will weep: if thou wake, he cannot sleep; Thus of every grief in heart; He will thee doth bear a part. These are certain signs to know; Faithfull friend from flattering foe. 

Thinking of you, Vicky

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